Days of Change

Blackest Night

November 25, 2016
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Catalog sales go back over a century. Main street predates the shopping mall. Before Wal-Mart, there was the department store. Right now, we are witnessing another change in the way people acquire goods.

Black Friday is a somewhat arbitrary point in the year where revenue exceeds expenses for retail. People once decided to start shopping for Christmas gifts just after Thanksgiving, but now they shop because today is the day stores offer big discounts to get shoppers in the door. That also means they save up for some impulse buys until this weekend, including Cyber Monday and tomorrow’s also-ran, Small Business Saturday.

Most people at work know That Guy, the one who brags about how they braved the crowds for an impossibly good deal on some loss-leader that was marked up to begin with. Most of us instead buy what we want when we can, opting not to run around, get pushed around and ultimately not get the thing we wanted anyway.

That makes online shopping much more fun. You look at some websites, make a decision, and click the button.Then some UPS guys delivers it in early December, three weeks before the worst shipping days of the year. Stores like Wal-Mart are now offering deals online this weekend, trying to beat the brick and mortar competition.

Personally, I like stores and actually getting something when I spend my money. However, I find clothes and electronics hard to get at stores, especially now that Radio Shack is gone. Shopping online is the new department store. It’s still hard to get many kinds of food, though. Maybe next year.

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Giving Thanks for Another Chance

November 24, 2016
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If there’s one way to describe this presidential election, it is too close for comfort. In the end, two things kept Hillary Clinton out of the White House. First, the media’s confidence about her winning the election led to the second thing, people who would have voted Democrat in a close election were so fatigued by scandal, they decided to vote third-party (or for Trump) as a protest to her shady dealings. Basically, this election really was like Brexit.

Even though there was some good fortune involved in Trump’s win, this does not mean that he should give Democrats a place at the table or work with them. When Obama took office, he quickly passed what he could with three RINOs in the Senate until the short period when there were 60 Democrats. That’s how we got Obamacare. When the Republicans regained Congress, Obama turned to Executive Orders and regulation. The Republicans are now in the same position. Even if they acted the same way, most of what happens will only be to reverse all the stuff Obama already did.

Thank God we have a chance to make America less bad again. Once we get there, maybe we can work on the great part.

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Congratulations, Dr. Carson

November 23, 2016

Ben Carson will be the new head of HUD.

It’s like an administration run by talk radio hosts.

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Clean Slate

November 22, 2016
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Over a year ago, I wrote about Donald Trump as an Obama-style blank slate. Other candidates had to defend their political records, which involved compromise, because that’s how politics works. Donald Trump had only his personal history. Even though it was filled with Democratic party entanglements, somehow that was irrelevant. Much like Obama, he won on the ability to squirm out of actual political experience. Unlike Obama, he doesn’t have much of the party behind him.

The Trump cabinet is being filled with media figures and low-level government mavericks. This is the advantage of not having a team of people in mind ahead of time. In practice, the swamp will be drained by thousands of Obama administration staff walking out the doors on January 20. Trump’s job is to not refill the swamp with whatever makes the swamp swampy.

The federal government is a massive complicated machine. The people with the biggest will have the most power. I suspect Trump and Stephen Bannon will end up having to filter their sloganeering through Mike Pence, who is now the most important man in the world. Not bad for a guy who was poised to lose the Indiana gubernatorial election.

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Whup-Ass Has an Expiration Date

November 21, 2016
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The story today is that Donald Trump had a meeting with several media figures n condition of non-disclosure. He then proceeded to berate them for negative stories. Unlike the NDAs he makes other people sign, these media figures weren’t going to be bullied if they didn’t get anything out of the deal.

At a certain point, the GOP decided that the moral high ground was better than fighting against an all-powerful media empire. Reagan helped to slow that evil empire by eliminating “equal time” rules that allowed conservatives to flourish on talk radio. By 1994, Republicans were able to get control of the Congress for the first time in decades. Two years later, Fox News came along and dominated cable ratings.

It’s not surprising that the entertainment industry, like the Hamilton cast and the American Music Awards, is using their monopoly to beat up on the coming Trump administration. In exchange, they are being beaten up by an emboldened social media contingent that wants to make America, you know.

Speaking truth to power is fine, but once Trump is in power, being a shill for power is much less rebellious. Opening up a can of whup-ass on every Trump criticism, valid or not eventually loses all context. Those undecided people who put Trump over the edge may regret their decision in the wake of a bunch of sore winners. You can’t be the victim fighting back forever.

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Beating the Odds

November 20, 2016
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I was a Mitt Romney opponent for months in 2012 but eventually grew to like his combative spirit before the general election. One of the reasons I couldn’t get on the Trump Train is because I went through all this crap before. I thought the polls were wrong and people were really sick of Obama. There’s 100 ways that Romney ran a bad campaign, but we would be saying it about Trump is Romney had gotten another 300,000 votes in the right places or Trump lost a couple hundred thousand in the wrong places.

The other reason I don’t like Trump is that he’s not a Republican. While the president sets the tone for the party, their influence on the party is not assured. Trump attacked his opponents during the primaries. Most candidates do. However, he also went after former president George W. Bush and the party structure during the general election. Populism is a good strategy, but any party can come along and peddle it. In 2000, Trump tried to take Ross Perot’s Reform Party over and slap the name Trump on it, but failed. This time, he sets his sights higher.

So, what’s the point of this screed? It’s that the Manhattanite Miracle might appear to beat the odds, but isn’t actually all that spectacular. Here’s some points to ponder.

  • Since the Nixon impeachment, we’ve only had a couple of one term presidents. One was Jimmy Carter, who was literally under terrorist attack from Iran, and George H. W. Bush, who suffered from the next point.
  • Reelection is easy, but three-peats for a party are nearly impossible. Since the passage of the 22nd Amendment in 1951, Republicans and Democrats have had 8 year presidential terms, except for Carter, who only made it to 4 and George H. W. Bush, who extended it to 12 then lost with 39% of the vote in 1992.
  • Richard Nixon, Lyndon Johnson, Gerald Ford, George H. W. Bush and Al Gore were all Vice-Presidents who tried to get 12 years out an administration. only Bush succeeded.
  • It seems really unfair that the popular vote winner loses the Electoral vote. The only problem is that the “winner” historically does not get the majority of the popular vote. Trump and Clinton got below 50%. So did Al Gore.

Americans seem to get tired of the same thing, but end up picking the previous thing to replace it. Like George W. Bush, Donald Trump slid in with a few losses in Congress. This bodes well for 2018, especially since the Senate is in the GOP’s favor, but not in 2022. If Trump wants to get stuff done, he’d better do it soon.

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Aaron Burr

November 19, 2016
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Did you hear that Donald Trump paid $25 million in hush money to settle the Trump University case? Probably not. That Hamilton story, however, is all over the place.

Ironically, the actor playing Aaron Burr spoke up during the performance of the theater production of “Hamilton” to address Vice President-Elect Mike Pence. Along with the booing and jeers of the Leftist New York Audience, the actor actually said he hoped Pence would heed his call for tolerance. So, if anything kills Hamilton, it will be Aaron Burr.

Aaron Burr is an interesting figure in history. He was orphaned by two families before he was 3, and was placed with relatives of Peggy Shippen. Years later, he would serve with Benedict Arnold with distinction and that led to his career in New York politics. At the time, New York was the location of the capitol of the United States. He eventually became the third Vice-President of the United States.

Burr also was attacked in the media, leading to his defeat 4 years later. Also at the time, Vice-President was the runner-up gig when you lost the Electoral Vote. Burr blamed Hamilton and challenged him to a duel. This is the part most people know. Burr continued as Vice-President for another 8 months after the duel, but it effectively any political career he had left.

You’d think the cast of Hamilton would have learned the folly of Pyrrhic victories by now.

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It’s Not All Establishment Whining

November 18, 2016
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There is a litmus test.

Before 1973, abortion was an issue for state legislatures. The Supreme Court then made it a national issue, deciding that states couldn’t infringe on what is supposedly a civil right. Abortion has it all as a hot button issue. It involves religion, sex and death, three things no one wants to talk about in pleasant company. The SCOTUS decision also set the stage for the Moral Majority and eventually the religious right.

Lately, Republican candidates have either not been interested in talking religion as politics, like Mitt Romney, or had questionable histories themselves, like John McCain. Bush made it a significant aspect of his campaign, crediting faith with straightening out his life. In Donald Trump’s case, he only checked off two boxes. He was a Christian, and he was against abortion.

Donald Trump made some concessions early in his campaign, like reversing his disloyalty oath from the first debate. He also made a point to say that he was pro-life, even though he spent years advocating abortion choice when asked. Of course, religious conservatives had the option of choosing Hillary Clinton instead, who was even more liberal than her husband and more interested in a legacy of left-wing laws than Obama.

The one thing that I’ve said about the post-Bush Republican party is that they are purging the religious component. They are totally cool with gays, as long as they don’t actually shut down bakeries over weddings. Abortion is even an optional stand, depending on the state. Democrats are encouraging this, often focusing attacks on religious conservatives.

This Redstate piece only adds to the perils in trading fleeting victories for authentic values. It is entirely possible that some nice, Midwestern Democrat with an unremarkable record and a wholesome family could get just enough Electoral votes to win in 2020.

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Death by Demography

November 17, 2016

2008 was supposedly the end of White male domination. Of course, if all White people had voted for Republicans, Democrats wouldn’t win for generations. Obama’s win led to a lot of eulogies for the GOP with terms like “permanent minority.” It took about a year and a half for the party to be resurrected.

Newt Gingrich was the father of swamp draining. He used the excesses of the House banking scandal to bring about the first Republican majority in both houses of Congress since the Truman administration. In the 22 years since then, House Republicans have been batting about .81 for control. The Senate has been more rocky, but it’s been in GOP hands more than Democrats over the past generation.

I have frequently compared the Trump campaign to the primary campaign of Pat Buchanan. His warnings of an amoral president and immigrants taking American jobs has come to pass. To a large extent, that fact alone led many to believe that Hillary Clinton couldn’t lose, especially since Obama has been moving refugees into toss-up states over the last year.

While there is still plenty of life in the plurality of White Americans, the moral component of Reagan era policies has given way to pro-choice Republicans and gay marriage that is likely here to stay. They were backhanded wins for leftists, removing issues to run on. Conservatism may yield to libertarianism. Trump is somewhere in between.

While Democrats may have hope for the future, today’s Republican party controls more governor’s mansions and state houses than almost any time in history. In terms of demographics, most Democrats are concentrated in California, New York and a handful of blue states and they’re getting bluer all the time. The elite who can live anywhere live on the left coast. The people who can’t move and work real jobs live where they live, and that’s everywhere. It turns out, they’re Republicans this year.

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Crispy Christie

November 16, 2016
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Chris Christie came to national fame as one of the early Republican wins of the post-Obama era. He became governor in January of 2010 with a strong belief in law and order and little time for the complaining of teachers’ unions. As a Republican in New Jersey, he wasn’t very conservative on environmental or social issues. The worst offense, however, was the boost he gave to Obama in 2012 over support for Hurricane Katrina relief.

Then there was Bridgegate. Staff in Christie’s office have admitted to ordering blockage of the George Washington bridge into New York City. Christie has denied any responsibility, but his general unpopularity will likely lose him his job in 2017.

Plan B would be a job in the Trump White House. However, Christie sort of represents the swamp that Trump was going to drain. In another unfortunate coincidence, he’s the prosecutor who put Charles Kushner in jail for a year. Jared Kushner, Charles’ son, is married to Ivanka Trump and has been a trusted adviser to Donald Trump. Christie may have had a short leash the whole campaign and now it’s been cut.

Chris Christie is most likely toast. If he does get a job in the Trump administration, which is likely because Trump needs to fill 4000 jobs in a hurry, it will be a demotion from governor. Politics is a rough game.

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